By Ann K. Schwader

The one who rode it died. We know his shape

from scans our elders made before the Fall:

entombed by accident or failed escape

from orbit, he is otherworldly tall

& twisted in a pallid shadow-knot

within his spheroid sealed forever by

reentry's kiss of peace. Sublime & hot

as seraph breath, it seared across the sky

that night they came—& hovered—then withdrew

again from all our wondering, wounded world.

The fact of them undid us through & through:

when dogmas die, their war-flags come unfurled.

So many saviors rose to separate

the wheat from chaff, the chaff from bleeding wheat,

that few survived such grace to contemplate

this blameless catalyst of our defeat.

What star begot these bones, we may not learn

until the rapture of their azure light

returns to claim the faithful. Though we burn

in our ascension through that last good night,

dark energy beyond waits cool & deep.

Our souls shall taste nirvana in such sleep.

Ann K. Schwader lives and writes in Westminster, CO. Her poetry and fiction have received multiple Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. Her most recent collection of dark verse, Architectures of Night, is available from Dark Regions Press. Her mostly Lovecraftian fiction collection, Strange Stars & Alien Shadows, appeared in late 2003 from Lindisfarne Press and is also still available. See more of her work on her website: www.geocities.com/HPL4ever/.